Telecoms operator Safaricom’s chief financial officer (CFO), John Tombleson, is set to exit the company after a five-year stint, the Business Daily has established.
Safaricom chief executive Bob Collymore declined to reveal the reason behind Mr Tombleson’s imminent departure but said it is not in any way linked to matters raised in a forensic audit report currently the subject of a parliamentary investigation.
“Our HR policies do not allow us to disclose the details of an employee’s contract. However, as a key Vodafone resource, John’s contract has a set limit and he will transition to his next position in line with the routine rotation schedules put in place for any employee seconded to Safaricom from Vodafone,” Mr Collymore said in response to queries on the matter.
The report by accounting firm KPMG names Mr Tombleson, alongside four other senior executives, as having unprocedurally influenced the purchase of a Sh1.15 billion five-acre piece of land at Nairobi’s Garden City where Safaricom plans to build its headquarters.
Mr Collymore, however, restated his earlier position that the report was incomplete and that it had not found any Safaricom employee to have inappropriately benefited from the commercial agreements.
“A close reading of the draft report shows that there is absolutely no evidence that any of the named individuals or organisations benefited inappropriately from any of Safaricom’s commercial agreements,” he said.
Mr Tombleson, 53, succeeded Christopher Tiffin, who served as CFO for three years beginning August 2008.
Les Baillie, another executive seconded from Vodafone, was Safaricom’s CFO for nearly a decade until Mr Tiffin took over from him in 2008.
British telecoms operator Vodafone owns a 40 per cent stake in Safaricom, and has historically appointed the chief executive and the CFO for the Kenyan telecoms firm.
Kenya’s most profitable
Mr Tombleson, a New Zealander, is part of the team that has steered Safaricom to its current position as Kenya’s most profitable company.
In the period ended March 2012 — when Mr Tombleson announced his inaugural financial results — Safaricom posted a 4.03 per cent drop in net profit to Sh12.6 billion on the back of a high-stakes price war with rival Airtel.
Airtel’s calling rates tumbled to Sh3 per minute from Sh8 within the network, while off-net tariffs were cut to Sh3 a minute from Sh12 — forcing Safaricom to take a huge cut on margins.
Source: Business Daily